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Canada: Statement on the Discussion of the Authority of Scripture in the Windsor

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    Primate s Theological Commission - PRESS RELEASE Nov. 21, 2006 -- The Primate s Theological Commission of the Anglican Church of Canada has issued a Statement
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 21, 2006
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      Primate's Theological Commission - PRESS RELEASE

      Nov. 21, 2006 -- The Primate's Theological Commission of the Anglican
      Church of Canada has issued a 'Statement on the Discussion of the
      Authority of Scripture in the Windsor Report'.

      Meeting in Winnipeg November 17-20 2006, in the context of prayer,
      Bible study and worship, the Commission discussed the nature,
      authority and interpretation of Scripture as they relate to the
      current debate within Anglicanism about the blessing of same-sex
      unions. It considered paragraphs 53-62 of The Windsor Report of the
      Lambeth Commission on Communion published in October, 2004 and
      concluded that they are an important contribution towards the
      articulation of a clearer consensus in the Anglican Communion on
      the nature, authority and interpretation of scripture. The statement,
      adopted unanimously, contains both affirmations of the Windsor
      material and notes to the church.

      (The Windsor Report Response Group, a committee established by the
      Council of General Synod, is preparing a response to the whole of the
      Windsor Report that will be considered by the General Synod in June,
      2007. A summary of this work is online at www.anglican.ca)

      The Primate's Theological Commission was appointed by the Primate of
      the Anglican Church of Canada. It is made up of Anglicans with
      theological expertise. Terms of reference and membership of the
      Commission may be found at www.anglican.ca. Bishop Victoria Matthews
      of Edmonton chairs the Commission.

      The most recent work of the Commission is the St. Michael Report on
      whether the blessing of same-sex unions is a matter of doctrine,
      published in May, 2005 at the request of the General Synod and the
      Primate. This Report is before the church for study, and its
      conclusions will be debated by the General Synod in June, 2007.

      For further information, please contact The Rt. Rev. Victoria
      Matthews, 780-439-7344, bishopv@... or Canon Alyson
      Barnett-Cowan, 416-924-9199 ext 281, barnettcowan@...

      The statement follows:

      Statement of the Primate's Theological Commission
      on the Discussion of the Authority of Scripture in the Windsor Report

      The Primate's Theological Commission commends the reflections of the
      Windsor Report on scripture (§§53-62) as an important contribution
      towards the articulation of a clearer consensus in the Anglican
      Communion on the nature, authority and interpretation of scripture.

      In particular, we affirm:

      1. its emphasis upon the central role of scripture in Anglican
      belief and life, recognizing that reference to the authority of
      scripture in historic Christianity means "the authority of the triune
      God, exercised through scripture". (§54);
      2. its affirmation of this authority as an aspect of "the dynamic
      inbreaking of God's kingdom", rather than "a static source of
      information or the giving of orders" (§55);
      3. its insistence that worship is the primary context in which the
      Church hears scripture as "the vehicle of God's authority" and "God's
      living and active word", while exhorting that "it is the
      responsibility of the whole Church to engage with the Bible together;
      [and] within that, each individual Christian, to the fullest extent of
      which they are capable, must study it and learn from it, thoughtfully
      and prayerfully." (§57);
      4. the responsibility of bishops (together with other clergy and
      lay leaders) to function as teachers of scripture (§58);
      5. that "questions of interpretation are rightly raised, not as an
      attempt to avoid or relativise scripture and its authority, but as a
      way of ensuring that it really is scripture that is being heard" (§59);
      6. the "call to the whole Anglican Communion to re-evaluate the
      ways in which we have read, heard, studied and digested scripture. We
      can no longer be content to drop random texts into arguments,
      imagining that the point is thereby proved, or indeed to sweep away
      sections of the New Testament as irrelevant to today's world,
      imagining that problems are thereby solved. We need mature study, wise
      and prayerful discussion, and a joint commitment to hearing and
      obeying God as he speaks in scripture, to discovering more of
      the Jesus Christ to whom all authority is committed, and to being open
      to the fresh wind of the Spirit who inspired scripture in the first
      place."(§61)

      We note that:

      1. given the Windsor Report's very high expectation of "Christian
      leaders chiefly within the Anglican tradition, of bishops ­ as
      teachers of scripture", the Anglican Church of Canada (and possibly
      other parts of the Communion) must place renewed emphasis on the
      biblical and theological formation of bishops, clergy and lay leaders.
      To this end we applaud the Archbishop of Canterbury's initiative and
      call for Theological Education in the Anglican Communion.
      2. we recognise in the above affirmations the historical Anglican
      doctrine of scripture as set forth in the Articles, the Ordinals, the
      Catechism, the Lambeth Quadrilateral, and the Solemn Declaration of 1893.
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